North Star completes Grampian Tyme crew


North Star, a U.K. vessel infrastructure support operator, has crewed up the first of its offshore wind fleet with 42 experienced seafarers, 60 percent of which have moved across from its existing North Sea workforce, transitioning core skills and company culture into the new vessel and its operations.

This completes the crew for the firm’s new hybrid-electric service operations vessel (SOV), the Grampian Tyne, alongside the catering specialist team from Aramark.

Left to right: North Star SOV vessel manager Ben Gardner, with chief engineer Anna Przydatek and vessel master Keith Sutherland. (Courtesy: North Star)

The new North Star ship is the first of four that will support ongoing operations and maintenance work at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm over the next decade for joint development partners Equinor, SSE Renewables and Vårgrønn. The new SOV was unveiled at its naming ceremony at Equinor’s O&M base at the Port of Tyne on June 7.The 135-year-old business, which has been supporting the oil and gas sector for the past 40 years, has a workforce of about 1,300 crew and onshore personnel across its locations in Lowestoft, Newcastle, and Aberdeen. The business has a fleet of 42 emergency support vessels providing uninterrupted critical safety services to more than 50 U.K. Continental Shelf installations every day. It has never left a post unattended.

The company has also completed further investment in its Lowestoft workshop to enhance its quayside support with regular SOV and associated daughter craft maintenance. Katy Willis has joined the local team as tender manager to assist with further business growth, and Ben Gardner has been appointed as vessel manager to aid operations in Port of Tyne.

“Our successful expansion into the offshore wind market has opened up many exciting new opportunities for existing crew members and has also allowed us to attract new talent into the business,” said Robert Catchpole, North Star COO. “Those transitioning across from our emergency response and rescue vessels have in some cases successfully upgraded their certification with our support to allow them to diversify into manning our offshore wind fleet of vessels in support of The Dogger Bank Wind Farm.”

“Being able to leverage our existing fleet’s skill pool is a unique capability for North Star, and it gives us a real edge in terms of the safety culture and standards onboard,” he said. “When we complement this knowledge and seamanship with external experience, we find ourselves very well positioned for successful operations moving forward.”

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